June 23, 2014

Quick, Easy, Engaging Independent Math Activities

Raise your hand if you like to have quick, easy, engaging, independent math activities on hand in the classroom?  

I'm talking about activities that take minimal materials, are quick to clean up, require thinking, and are enjoyed by the students. 

If you are like me, then you love those kinds of activities.

I've spent the last week or so going through all my school stuff little by little. I've been weeding things out and organizing like crazy. One of the things I tackled was my Math Stations bin. I pulled out games that I hadn't used in years. I had things from my first year of teaching that I'm not even sure I've ever used. Gasp! It was labeled, it was organized, but...it was never used. No bueno. I made a pile of stuff to give away, a pile to recycle, and a pile to trash. Purging... it feels good. 

But, I digress.

What I really wanted to share with you was some of the really great activities that I had in my bin that I have used and  enjoyed. Some of these I've shared in the past, but just in case you missed it I'm including them again.

Block It Out
Addition Facts/Problem Solving

Materials: game board, expo marker or colored tiles

Objective: Create addition equations using adjacent squares on the game board to cover the entire board.

Details:  Like a word search, students look for addition equations that can be created with adjacent squares within the game board. (7+2=9) Students then cover the 7, 2, and 9. If the puzzle is done correctly, all squares will be covered. If not, dump the tiles and begin again. This set includes 4 boards that get progressively more difficult.

Appropriate for grades 2-4.

You can download this fun game for free at TPT by clicking here!

Bowling Facts
Addition/Subtraction Facts

Materials: game board, expo marker, number cube (die)

Objective: Create equations using three numbers to eliminate as many bowling pins as possible.

Details: Students roll the number cube three times and write down their numbers. Then, using only those three numbers, come up with as many equations possible that equal 1-10.  All operations welcome. Equations can include more than one operations. Each equation knocks over that number pin.
For example, if you roll a 3, 6, and 2 you could come up with the following equations:

Using these equations, you would have knocked down pins #9,5,3,4,7,1.

If you can knock down all pins on with your first three numbers, you get a STRIKE!
If not, roll three more numbers and try for a SPARE!

Appropriate grades 2-5.

You can also download this fun game for free at TPT by clicking here!

Puppy Place Value Paths
Ordering Numbers/Place Value

Materials: game board, expo marker, digit cards

Objective: Complete the path by placing putting numbers in order from least to greatest.

Details: Students draw 3 digit cards to arrange into a three digit number and write it somewhere on the path. Play continues until a path is created with numbers in order from least to greatest.

This is also available in my TPT store for free, just click here!

Appropriate grades 2-4.

Problem Solving

Materials: game board, 8 colored counters (4 of each color)

Objective: Following the rules of Leapfrog, switch the colored tiles on the right with the colored tiles on the left (See my full post on this logic puzzle here!)

Details: Leapfrog is a logic puzzle game that is simple in design but difficult to solve. To set up your game board, you need 8 game pieces of 2 different colors. I like to use the two-sided math counters. Put one color on one side and the other on the other side. The counters represent the frogs - red frogs and yellow frogs. To play, you can move any counter you want, but you must follow these rules.

You can only move each frog forward - never backward.
You can leap over 1 frog at a time.

The puzzle has been solved when both colors on the board have switched places and the rules have been followed.

You can also download this logic puzzle for free at my TPT store by clicking here

So, that's it. Four super simple games that are easy to use, fun to play, and promote mathematical thinking. These are not *new* ideas by any means, but they are great activities my kiddos have enjoyed over the years. I hope they are just as helpful in your classroom as they have been in mine.

 I'm linking up with Classroom Freebies for Manic Monday!
Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Questions?  Comments?  Let me know!


  1. Great ideas and super cute blog. Stop over at mine and take a look.
    Teaching Science With Lynda

  2. Love these games! Gotta keep those kids engaged! Found you at Manic Monday and will be back! Thanks!


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